Dorothy Steel Courtesy of Cindy Butler, left photo courtesy of Matt Kennedy  

By Ta-ning Connai

Dorothy Steel is a scene stealer and she’s got a growing fan base to prove it. The 92-year-old actress had all eyes on her during her appearance as the merchant tribal elder in Black Panther, and she can hardly step outdoors without requests for selfies or her autograph. One would assume Ms. Steel was a seasoned vet, but she’s only been acting for 4 short years! At 88, she embarked on an entirely new career when most people her age are settled into retirement. It was her participation in a play at a senior center in Georgia that sparked a love for the arts that she didn’t know she had. So she came out of retirement (worked for decades for the IRS), got herself an agent, and the rest is silver screen history! God certainly has a way of reconnecting us with our dreams. Whether it’s months or years, there’s one thing for sure…it’s never too late, but we might have to wait….

When I was in the sixth grade, my teacher called me up to her desk and told me she wanted to speak to my mother. “Huh? You wanna speak to my mom?” I said sounding like I needed time to clean up a crime scene! My stomach did a somersault as I sifted through the days gone by trying to remember what I’d done wrong. Had she seen me when I rolled my eyes behind her back??? Or did she catch me chewing gum again??? Maybe she found out I smashed the school bully against the lockers for calling my brother Peach Fuzz (due to his light colored fro)! I was just about willing to confess to almost anything because the suspense was eating me alive!

It turned out, she wanted to tell my mother that she was certain I’d grow up to be an amazing writer. Whew, what a relief! She even made the bold statement that she expected to see a book of mine on the shelves one day. Imagine that! And even though I found my teacher quite annoying at times, I believed what she said because I knew she believed in me. But it wasn’t too long before I forgot all about what she told my mom that day. And it was a really, really long time before I ever remembered it again.

I met Theron when I was around 16. What started off as a normal teenage relationship, quickly turned into a molotov cocktail of high strung drama and “on again, off again” madness. And even when it was clear that I needed to just get up and walk away, it took a bit more of a push to get me to do just that. Apparently, he hadn’t hurt me bad enough yet. And chasing him with knives and glass bottles to relay my grief wasn’t exactly the best way to get my point across. Yeah, I was slowly becoming the crazy one. What in the world was I waiting for?

Two pregnant girls later was the push I was evidently waiting for and the day I got the news was the same day I said goodbye. It’s also the time that my writing came to an abrupt and crashing end. Much of what I began to write about was gut-wrenchingly sad. And when I left Theron, I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. My broken heart and battered mind subconsciously associated writing with pain, and who the heck wants that? Not me. Not ever. So I walked away from them both.

2014 was a really bad year. I was chronically ill AND my beloved doggie named Juicy passed away. Somebody thought I’d get great joy from looking at other dogs online. They were right! I fell in love with a little yorkie who was so darn famous, she had her own page on Facebook. While checking out her funny trick videos, I branched out and started making comments on various posts. 

It seemed like every minute, I was on a tangent about one thing or another. Comments about my writing ability really encouraged me to begin making my own posts. Then one day out of the blue, a post in my news feed led me to write a poem. It would be the first poem I had written in DECADES. In that moment I realized that God “tricked” me back into writing by using Facebook and a little dog! Eventually I got well, I started a personal blog, and that blog then led me here to YOU!


Our purpose will always consist of the things we love, but sometimes even our love for those things isn’t enough to keep our dreams afloat. But no matter how deep we bury them, no matter how far we throw them away, no matter how long we seem to forget…just like a boomerang, God will always make sure our gifts and calling find their way back to us.

Philippians 1:6 is our guarantee that…

“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” 

See, no matter what you did to thwart the original plan, it can still happen if you want it. So, if you ever wanted to be a nurse, but can’t go back to school, try volunteering at a nursing home for starts. Are you still funny? Find an open mic. You do hair? Turn your freebie friends into paying customers. No matter what it is, God can make up for lost time and thrust you right into the place where you belong. It’s never too late, but you might have to wait; it’ll be the best thing you ever did! 

Do you have a desire to do something that you’ve put off for years?

TA-NING is a former model and clothing designer who got the “call” to leave the fab world of fashion behind. While in Bible College, she discovered her knack for mixing her quirky style of writing with her gift to teach. TA-NING’S TELL IT TUESDAY is a weekly column (originally launched on Facebook) that uses doses of pop culture to present Christianity in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of Brooklyn), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!

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